Laser Periodontal Therapy is an amazing breakthrough in periodontal treatment. If you have been told that you need gum surgery or you have periodontal disease, this new technology replaces cutting of the gum tissue with a scalpel and does not require stitches. This means an easier recovery with minimal bleeding, which preserves gum tissue, reduces root exposure and sensitivity, and is reasonably priced as compared to traditional gum surgery.
Dr. Godsey is trained and licensed to perform Laser Periodontal Therapy using LANAP (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure), an FDA cleared and patented laser procedure that greatly reduces the pain and recovery time associated with traditional gum surgery used for treating gum disease.
What is gum disease? Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection that destroys the gums and supporting bone surrounding your teeth. It starts off as plaque, an opaque film which eventually hardens, forming tarter or calculus. These deposits harbor bacteria which infect the gums. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), more than 60% of the adult population has periodontal disease. Bleeding gums, tooth movement, loose teeth, bad breath, or pain associated with brushing, are all symptoms of periodontal disease. There is scientific evidence of a direct link between gum disease and a variety of other major health issues such as heart attacks, strokes, miscarriages, and diabetes.
The way to repair the damage is to get rid of the infection and close up the infected pockets. LANAP is a minimally-invasive alternative to traditional gum surgery. It uses the world’s first digital dental laser – the PerioLase MVP-7, to remove harmful bacteria and diseased tissue from the gum pocket by passing a laser light between the gum and tooth. This laser fiber is about as wide as three human hairs. Patients don’t hear or feel it – except for a little warmth.
The procedure’s method of eliminating germs from the gums is very similar to lifting ink from a paper. First, the laser uses heat to strip away the diseased gum. The laser only seeks out infected tissue, which is darker in color than healthy tissue, leaving healthy tissue in place. Then, the dentist uses the laser a second time to heat the area until a clot is formed, protecting the newly lasered tissue by sealing it. This allows the body to heal naturally so that the gum pockets improve and the teeth become more stable. General anesthesia is not necessary because Laser Periodontal Therapy is much less traumatic. A local anesthetic is used to eliminate any possible discomfort.
The laser is an effective tool for improving overall dental health with less pain, less bleeding, less swelling, less tissue removal, and less recovery time than traditional gum surgery or periodontal treatment. It provides a viable alternative to traditional gum surgery that is less evasive and more appealing to some patients who may otherwise avoid necessary treatment due to fear or prolonged treatment time. Some of the benefits include:
– LESS TRAUMATIC yet highly effective alternative to traditional gum surgery
– LESS DISCOMFORT than with standard surgery, both during and after the procedure
– LESS TIME than traditional surgery. It generally takes two 2-hour visits to the office and two follow-up visits
– LASTING RESULTS, with 98% of LPT treated patients remaining stable after five years
– LESS RECOVERY TIME in that there is less than a 24-hour recovery period
– SAFE for patients with health concerns such as diabetes, hemophilia, HIV, or those taking medications such as Coumadin or Cyclosporin
Does Laser Periodontal Therapy hurt?
The procedure itself is virtually painless, however, we may anesthetize the area for your comfort. In this way we can precisely direct the laser for treatment. Post-procedure discomfort is typically minimal and of short duration.
How long does it take?
Initial treatment is focused on scaling and the use of small instruments to remove the tartar. Then, the laser portion of the treatment is performed and normally only takes a few minutes. Depending on the severity of the periodontal disease, treatment may be accomplished in one office visit or in multiple visits. Most treatments can be accomplished in just two sessions, however, the estimated treatment time is reviewed with you when we discuss the treatment plan.
What about recovery – will I be in pain or need to follow a special routine?
The sense of recovery is immediate, due to the laser’s ability to seal blood vessels, lymphatics and nerve endings. Of course, your tissue needs time to recover, regenerate and heal over the course of time, but after Laser Periodontal Therapy, you can drive your car, go back to work, or do anything else you like. During the initial healing phase, we ask that you only eat a soft diet and that you use a mouth rinse for oral hygiene, all of which will be explained in detail during your consultation.
Does this treatment cost more than traditional gum surgery?
Typically we use the same billing codes as traditional gum surgery and the laser treatment is generally no more expensive than the traditional surgery. There are other factors which may affect the cost, such as the severity of the periodontal disease and how many teeth are involved. Many insurance plans pay only for a portion of this treatment. Patients should discuss their payment options with our dental office, as we offer financing for this treatment if needed.
What is the difference between Laser Periodontal Therapy and Periolase?
Periolase by Millennium Dental Technologies, Inc. is the laser used in laser periodontal therapy. This type of gum therapy is also commonly referred to as LANAP, laser gum therapy, dental lasers, and laser gum surgery. All of these terms refer to the same process in which the laser fiber, only about as wide as a couple of human hairs, is inserted between the gum tissue and your tooth to remove the elements that cause gum disease.